Letter: Participate in Collective Gardens Around the City

A collective garden gives urbanites a place to grow food in a busy city like Montreal.

As city dwellers, we aren’t aware of food insecurities surrounding our food system. We are blinded by an illusion of countless grocery stores and an endless supply of food choices. However, things are not as they seem.

The current food system has long distances from production to plate resulting in high dependence on fossil fuels. We willingly eat food that we do not know exactly how it was produced; most food items are covered with pesticides and grown by GMO seeds.

Collective gardens attempt to reduce the distance and bring awareness to the difficulties in food production. In addition, these gardens give participants a sense of security knowing where harvest was produced and how. Collective gardens allow anyone within a community to participate. It’s a hands on activity where one not only grows healthy and environmentally stable food but also acts as a bridge to other benefits such as building social connections, education on food, and promoting healthy choices.

The main problem that gardens face is a lack of volunteers. Since producing food takes a lot of work, the more hands the better. The majority of volunteers are seniors and are unable to do strenuous work, like heavy lifting. I believe that it’s important for collective gardens to inform the public of their locations and encourage participation.

I didn’t know there was a garden so close to my apartment building until I took an urban agriculture class at Concordia. I enjoyed my volunteering time, and although it was hard work, my hands were dirty, and my back was sore—I couldn’t help but feel proud of the work I put in at the end of each day, especially when the produce is harvested and I was able to bring home fresh vegetables. I would recommend participating in collective gardens to anyone.